Thursday, May 31, 2012

Japanese Toilet Paper

We drove to the big city (Sapporo) for the first time last night.  By that I mean Ted drove and I rode. The reason for our trip was to go to the Big American Store, Costco. Costco has all the things you don’t find in the Japanese store, either because it’s not there or because it isn’t packaged in a way we can recognize.  Being illiterate doesn’t help. Sometimes the Japanese version of what we want just isn’t what we are used to getting.  Take toilet paper for example.

Kirkland is the Cosco store brand and the toilet paper is two ply and “quilted”, like the toilet paper we know in the US.  Japanese toilet paper is thin and the squares are twice as long as they are wide.

Check out this article and video on Costco toilet paper .  Toilet paper is Costco’s top selling product.  Can you believe that? Costco sells $40 million in their Kirkland toilet paper.  If it weren’t good, would that many people be buying it?  Now you know why we go to Sapporo to buy toilet paper.

Scrapbooking leads to English Lesson
Yes, I still have the scrapbooking mess, I mean project, out.  It led to part of this week’s lesson. I took seven random photos to class and taped them to the walls around the room.  I had the students, working in pairs, look at the photos and write two sentences in English about each photo.  They could use their English/Japanese dictionaries, but had a limited amount of time to write their two sentences about each photo. Some sentences were basic but accurate sentences, such as “There are three grandmothers near the water.” for a photo of Ted’s mother and two of her relatives at the family reunion near the lake. In other sentences, their observations were keen, such as “It happened in the fall.” for a photo of a person in front of a tree with yellow and brown leaves. Or, “The photo is from America.” in a picture with a US flag flying in the background. Some sentences were not so accurate, and were funny, but it made them think.

Doc Watson
Legendary folk and blue grass musician, Doc Watson, died in North Carolina at age 89.  We were fortunate to be able to see him perform several times in the last few years, most recently at the North Carolina Museum of Art in North Carolina. He will be missed.

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